19 February 2010

Election fever Part III: March, April or May?

The saga over the election date continues on its merry way.

Two polls are published overnight, one of which gives some comfort to Gordon Brown:

Angus Reed: CON 40%(+2), LAB 26%(+1), LDEM 18%(-2)

The Sun Daily Tracker: CON 39%(nc), LAB 32%(+2), LDEM 18%(nc).

Mike Smithson makes this comment:

The Cooke algorithm rates the hung parliament probability on a seven point margin at just 1.6%.

Whatever this is seriously good news for Brown Central particularly as it suggests that Labour is heading for a GB vote share that is only four points off the 36.2% that was achieved in 2005.

Now, we move to this report in the Indy, which sets out Brown’s activities for the next few days, before we get to this:

This week, Labour also sent out applications for journalists to gain accreditation for its regular campaign events. However, ministers still maintain that the date had not been decided. "Every time Gordon discusses it, he says no one should be so sure that 6 May is the date. April is still a possibility."

Then up pops a report in the Daily Mail, which correctly asks if Brown will call an election before the Q1 GDP figures are published on 23 April.

Finally, Iain Dale has the news, not confirmed, that Brown will appear before Chilcot on 4th or 5th March, which would rule out a March election.

This brings us back to what The Mole had picked up, that Brown is considering 15 April, although this date does not allow for a budget on 24 March.

If Dale is correct, it probably means that Brown has only just taken the decision to rule out March.  As we have discussed, the April date is full of practical difficulties.

The only certainty is that by the middle of next week will know for sure about the March date. 

Meanwhile let the speculation continue.  It is much more fun than the games a few dozen economists are playing.

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